1973 South African Grand Prix

KYALAMI, March 3rd.

JACKIE STEWART will remember his win in the 1973 South African Grand Prix for a long time. After a frightening crash in practice, following total brake failure on his own machine, he took over team-mate Cevert’s Tyrrell but only qualified on the seventh row of the grid. With only seven laps of the race completed the Scot was in the lead and he was never challenged from then on and he finished up the winner by over twenty seconds from Revson’s McLaren. But a good deal happened in those six laps. At the start of the third lap an accident occurred at Crowthome Bend which put four cars out of the race. One of the drivers, Clay Regazzoni, was trapped in his BRM, which was on fire, and it was only thanks to the extreme bravery of Mike Hailwood, who was also involved in the accident, that the Swiss driver’s life was saved.

It took over three laps to extricate Regazzoni from the wreckage and, while this was taking place, Stewart moved up from seventh to first place. One of the reasons was that Denny Hulme’s McLaren M23 ran over some of the wreckage and had to make a pit stop for a puncture, thus losing the New Zealander first place. But Stewart was alleged to have passed at least three cars under the yellow or white flag including Jody Scheckter, the young South African who had moved into a sensational lead, in his second only Grand Prix, when Hulme made his pit stop. Immediately the race was over, the recriminations started and McLaren’s Teddy Mayer filed an official protest against Stewart’s tactics. The stewards of the meeting listened to the various sides of the story and, after due consideration, severely reprimanded Stewart who nevertheless had denied the allegations. He remained the winner. One wonders had it been Regazzoni, Reutemann, Scheckter or someone like that who had committed the same offence, whether the decision would have been disqualification from the race. In fact, in the saloon car race that followed the Grand Prix, a driver was disqualified for over-taking under a yellow flag. All this aside it should be said that Stewart drove superbly to win, although the story may have been different had Hulme not had to make the pit stop. John Player-Team Lotus made something of a miscalculation with the angle at which they set their rear wings and in so doing lost out on sheer straight line speed. Emerson Fittipaldi had to be content with third place, although in the closing stages, he set up a new lap record and very nearly caught Revson. With three rounds of the World Championship now run, the series enters its European section with the Brazilian only three championship points ahead of Stewart while, in the Constructors’ Championship, Lotus lead Tyrrell by a single point.

Race Results


Circuit - Kyalami


South Africa


Midrand, Gauteng


Permanent road course


2.55 (Miles)


Keke Rosberg (Williams FW10-Honda), 1m08.149, 134.705 mph, F1, 1985

First Race

1961 Kyalami F1